Welcome to Day 4 of #NJ12DaysOfAuthors June Series! @MartaBeaman #MennoniteDaughter @RRBC_Org #RRBC
RaveReviewsbyNJ ♦ June 25, 2021 ♦ 32 Comments
At the end of this series, 1 lucky visitor will win a (12) Kindle e-book pack which will include a copy of each book featured in this series + a $10 Amazon gift card + a book trailer, courtesy of 4WillsPublishing! Simply leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
On the 4th day of the June “12 Days of Authors” Series… Nonnie’s gift to you…
AUTHOR, MARIAN BEAMAN!
For 21 years, I taught composition and literature at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Before that, high school English. My memoir, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl, reveals the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s and 60s. I share my story to preserve these memories and to leave a legacy for future generations. I write Wednesdays on my Plain and Fancy blog. My work has appeared in The Gutsy Story Anthology, The Mennonite magazine, the Arts and Antiques magazine, and Story Circle Network Anthology. My artist husband Cliff and our grown children and grandchildren make Jacksonville, Florida, home.
NJ: Hi, Marian! Thanks for joining me today. I understand today was not the best day for your interview, so we’ll be sure to promote it heavily tomorrow. How’s that? Let’s get right to it so that you can rest. Is your author name a pen name or your birth name?
Marian: No nom de plume for me. My author name is not the same as my birth name. I happily exchanged my birth name, Longenecker, for my married name, Beaman, which is easier to spell and doesn’t arouse chuckles as “Longenecker” might.
NJ: How long have you been writing?
Marian: I began writing stories in 2013, when I started my blog, “Plain and Fancy,” including snippets of my early life in Pennsylvania. Readers latched onto the characters in my family and urged me to write my memoir. I love blogging because the short pieces connect me to readers from across the globe: Australia, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Canada, and of course the USA. Story writing is an art, so I took two memoir-writing classes to learn the skill, which is SO much different from the academic writing I did as a teacher.
NJ: What genre or genres do you write under?
Marian: Up to this point, only memoir. However, many RRBC authors began with one genre, and expanded to another. Thrillers and para-normal books seem to be selling like hotcakes now, but I don’t feel the urge. Maybe, historical fiction would be a fit for me. I have enjoyed Bette Stevens’ Dog Bone Soup, and I can imagine recreating a believable character using dialogue and a snappy plotline. I know I’d enjoy the research involved.
NJ: Are you indie-published or traditionally published?
Marian: I’m a strong advocate for indie publishing. I own the rights to my memoir and can make changes to my text and control the price point for each format without consulting a corporation.
NJ: Good for you, Marian! Indie is the only way to go in my eyes! No one controlling the baby you gave birth to but you, the rightful owner and head parent in charge! If you are traditionally published, can you give our audience a pointer or two as to how you found a publisher, in the event that someone reading this interview is attempting to go the traditionally published route. By the way, I am a strong advocate for Indie publishing and would not have it any other way.
NJ: How many books have you published to date?
Marian: My memoir only. However, my husband and I are collaborating on a story book with the working title Kids and Oaks, inspired by a blog post of the same name. Our goal is to have it published for Christmas release, as it would appeal to readers who want to inspire their children (or grandchildren) to grow roots down deep and develop wings to fly, pursuing their dreams.
NJ: How exciting to publish with your other half! All of RRBC will be waiting to support it upon its release! You’ve only published one book so I’m guessing it’s your favorite thus far?
Marian: Of course! At first, I wrote to leave a legacy for my children, but then as I persevered, I discovered a path toward forgiveness of parental abuse in childhood. The writing/revising was like giving therapy to myself. My keyboard was often wet with tears as I relived some chapters, so my readers would be transported to the scene. I felt the same depth of emotion about happy scenes in Grandma’s kitchen and walks in the woods playing Robinhood with a neighbor.
What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part à capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing. Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a dark cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world. Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.
NJ: I love those red shoes! Where can readers purchase your book and how much is it?
Marian: My book on Amazon is currently priced at $11.99 for softcover and $4.99, e-book. Expect a special to run during the 12 Days of Authors Promo.
NJ: I have been in this business long enough to know that quite a few readers have a purchase price point and will only spend so much on an e-book. How do you price your books and what is your logic behind the pricing?
Marian: When the book published in 2019, readers at my launch party happily paid $16.99 for a print book. Since then, I have adjusted the cost for RRBC authors to special pricing at times, for example: $2.99 for the e-book and $7.99, softcover. Because my softcover book costs $6.00 to print, I’ve found it unprofitable to go much lower except for special offers. Like other authors, I have done giveaways to create buzz.
NJ: As regular purchasers of books, we appreciate those specials, Marian! Thank you! I got on Twitter many years ago because my social media manager at the time, told me that I needed to be on Twitter. He did not give me an actual reason as to why (I had to learn my “why” on my own), just that I needed to be there. What was your main reason for getting on Twitter? For support? For fun?
Marian: One of my long-time friends, Colleen, advised me to set up a Twitter account, so I did with the “pen name” Marta Beaman, my husband’s pet name for me: @martabeaman Although I publish my blog every week on Twitter, I can’t say I enjoy it. It’s too easy to click “Like” and let it go at that. I find Facebook more personable. However, I do promote other authors with tweets, which they seem to appreciate.
NJ: I find it the total opposite between Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is, by far, my favorite! But, what works best for some, won’t work that way for others, right? What other social media platforms do you use to market your book, and have you found them to be beneficial?
Marian: Lately, I promoted my memoir on Facebook for Mother’s Day. Fortunately, someone on a Facebook group “Growing Up in Elizabethtown,” my hometown, saw the ad and bought 3 copies. Last week, I posted a blog post about window washing, the theme of a friend’s comment and got 2 more sales. Actually, that’s my take, who knows WHO buys my books as purchases are not tagged with names – ha! I have one loyal author on LinkedIn; we support each other’s books with posts and reviews. Instagram, for me, is just FUN. I grab my camera and post whatever strikes my fancy. A few shots ended up here as a travel blog post: https://marianbeaman.com/2021/05/05/sisters-road-trip-river/
NJ: Supporting others is a huge part of my identity. I believe that when you invest your time and support in others, you find that your circle grows by leaps and bounds of others giving the same to you. When I first got involved heavily on Twitter, I was pushing others more than I was pushing myself – I continue to do so. Do you support others on social media? If so, how?
Marian: I support other authors on their blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter—also on the RRBC website. I spend a chunk of time every day supporting others, sometimes with book reviews. I believe in reciprocity. I can’t expect others to promote me unless I do the same for them. My online connections are true friendships: some close connections—others are acquaintances which may grow into something more. I love the friends I’ve found at RRBC.
NJ: And we love you back, Marian 🙂 Now, do you actually take the time to read tweets from others before you retweet them, or do you just hit “retweet” without ever engaging in the tweet?
Marian: I’m a fast reader, so I usually take in the gist before retweeting.
NJ: If you could map out the perfect way that you would want others to support you on social media, how would you ask your followers to support you? Just imagine that everyone who reads this interview will run out and follow you. How could they best support you? What would you have them do?
Marian: To readers here: “Subscribe to my blog, follow me or Facebook and Twitter. Oh, and buy my book!” I’ll probably return the favor.
NJ: Marian, we all learn something new almost every day while on social media and I like sharing what I have learned with other authors, in hopes that it will benefit them in some way. Have you come across any writing resources that might benefit other authors? If so, share 2 or 3 of them with us, please.
Marian: Write Your Memoir in Six Months by Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner: https://writeyourmemoirinsixmonths.com/program-details/ a course that taught me the art of storytelling. A book I cherish on my “literal” desktop: The Story Cure by Dinty Moore, a fun read with useful tips
NJ: Can you share with our audience 2 or 3 of the top methods you use to market your books?
Marian: My blog, Facebook posts, and offering books on consignment at independent bookstores in my city. Initially, I sold many books at my launch party in 2019 and on the book tour to Pennsylvania, which followed.
NJ: What is the one bit of writing advice you would give to any author, experienced or newbie?
Marian: Warm the seat of your writing chair every. single. day. Even if you have a full-time job, grab a few minutes each day, or carve out time on weekends. I admire RRBC authors who have fulltime jobs and produce fine books; for example, Robbie Cheadle, a prolific author, who by day is a stockbroker in South Africa.
NJ: Is writing only a hobby for you or do you write full time?
Marian: Retired from teaching, I write full-time along with enjoying walks with a neighbor, lunches with friends, time with grandchildren and the daily grind of laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning, though I hardly ever dust. At this stage of life, I I am lucky to have the leisure to write.
NJ: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the writers you see today around social media, versus the writers of old?
Marian: As I see it, all had their struggles—Jane Austen publishing as a woman, Charles Dickens contending with poverty, and Hemingway, striving to be taken seriously. I don’t know that I see a clear difference. Writers then and now, have to struggle in one way or another. Millions of books are published every year. Even with great writing, it’s hard to stand out.
NJ: If you have ever received any, how do you handle not-so-flattering reviews of your book(s)?
Marian: At the moment, I am blessed with a 4.8 average on Amazon: 81% 5-star, 15%, 4 star, and one 3-star. The one low rating bothered me at first, but then I thought, ”Either this reader has super-high standards or may be meanspirited.” Who knows? I have done my best, and I can’t control what others think, or guess their motivations. I have to respect their opinions, because they are just that: opinions.
Marian, it’s baffling to me how some authors view a 3-star review as a low rating. It’s not. It’s in the middle. It basically says the book was just OK. And, I am one of those readers with super high standards, by the way, and proud to be. Now, do you appreciate honesty regarding your writing because you know that only honest feedback allows you to grow as a writer, or are you one of those who would prefer that others lie to you and tell you only what they know you want to hear?
Marian: No lies, please, only honest.
NJ: Marian, thank you so much for sitting down with me today for this informative interview! Now, off to bed you go to rest those beautiful eyes!
OTHER QUICK FACTS ABOUT MARIAN…
- Loves the friends she’s made at RRBC!
- Never rants. It’s a waste of time and energy (so we’ll never see her in a Twitter brawl!)
- Tends to cultivate friendships with writers she share values with
- “Grateful for several RRBC authors who comment on my blog, and I do return the favor.”
- Blogs about random things
- “Very important to note, I have a Christian world view, which is subtle but obvious in my writing.”
FOLLOW MARIAN ON…
Guests, thank you so much for dropping by to support Marian on Day 4 of the June “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” Series! It would be awesome if you would pick up a copy of her book above, and after reading, share your review to Amazon. Ensure that you leave her a comment below, and also LIKE her feature before you leave, for your chance to win the grand prize package listed above! We’d both appreciate it if you would share this feature to Twitter and Facebook, as well.
To follow along with the rest of the features in this series, visit the “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” home page! There will be a new series beginning in July! I’d also love it if you would #follow my site, as well as following me on Twitter @NonnieJules, as my truest joy is in service to others. I’d love to support you, too!
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DISCLAIMER: Any guest material appearing at WATCH NONNIE WRITE! is not edited, proofed or changed in any manner by the the owner of this blog. Material is posted as it is written and submitted. It is not my place to make changes to someone else’s writing, as what I view as needing correcting, just might be the way the author intended the material to read.
Glad to read about another educator making their mark in the literary world.
Randy, thanks for introducing yourself. So, you have had a career as teacher or administrator too. I look forward to getting to know you better. 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed your memoir. It provides a glimpse into a life most of us will never know. Your honesty and ability to look back is refreshing. Thanks again, Marian, and thanks, Nonnie, for interviewing Marian!
Wanda, again huge thanks for reading and reviewing Mennonite Daughter. I have checked out your website and notice you are in broadcasting and have been in public relations as well. I suspect I will learn more about your love for baseball as I’ve just purchased a copy of Empty Seats. Thanks for the nod here! 🙂
Hello Marian/Marta, I enjoyed your interview and will purchase your book. The Amish and Mennonites have always intrigued me and your book will help to fill in some of the blanks. I do enjoy your sense of humor and thank you for all your support. Enjoy the day! Thank you, too, Nonnie, for another fine episode.
Thanks, John, for the purchase and for your interest in Mennonite life. My memoir details my experience of more than 50 years ago, and much has changed, especially in dress code. One thing Mennonites still espouse is non-resistance, opposition to war. I can see that this stance may be a problem for you, remembering your heroism (and struggles) during the Vietnam war. Thanks again! 🙂
Marian, this is a lovely interview. You just radiate warmth, honesty, and thoughtfulness! I have your book on my kindle and look forward to reading it. We live about 2-1/2 hours from a community in Pennsylvania populated by both Mennonite and Amish people and used to visit there occasionally. I remember beautiful crafts and quilts and “home style” restaurants, which were so delicious. It took courage to write your memoir, and I’m glad it was a healing experience for you. Enjoy your day in the spotlight! Nonnie, thank you for another fascinating interview!
Thank you, Maura Beth. When you read my book, you will have some context for the characters and setting, even though the dress code in my community has been relaxed over the years. I appreciate your support here and for RRBC in general.
Also, I enjoyed your giving me another way to look at forensic science in Edge of Fear, which I have read and reviewed. Thanks again for your insight about the healing aspect of writing my memoir and for the good wishes too! 🙂
Hi Nonnie, so glad you featured Marian on your tour. A nice interview. Marian, I read and like your book because it felt like it came from your heart. I also enjoyed learning more about you. I do look forward to seeing what this collaboration brings to the world. Nice one.
Rox, thanks for reading and reviewing my book, early on in fact. You mentioned that the book came from my heart. Part of the reason for that is that my thoughts had time to “simmer” for decades after I made discoveries that helped me understand my dad better. Thanks for your support of me personally and also doing a splendid job of co-hosting RRBC “Rave Waves”!
Nice to meet you, Marian!
Annette, I just clicked on your website and found the uplifting video, “I am Blessed.” Well, I admire your attitude of gratitude and look forward to getting to know you better. Thanks for chiming in!
Hi Marian, Hi Nonnie,
Marian, now I know why I couldn’t find you on Twitter the first time I tried to tweet something about you. I was looking for Marian and on Twitter you used Marta. I am laughing right now because I saw the MartaBeamen and thought to myself that couldn’t be her. Oh well…
I enjoyed your book and I like your recommendation about writing every day. I believe that is so important because writing keeps oiling the creativity within us.
Nonnie, thank you for presenting Marian.
Wishing you both a lovely day.
Pat, you gave me a chuckle about not recognizing “Marta” on Twitter. Thanks for supporting both my book and my blog and always always ending your missives with “Shalom aleichem.”
Marian’s book is great, and she is one of the most supportive bloggers out there with always a kind word to say.
Pete, to your comment I will say “It takes one to know one” — ha! We share careers as educators and know the energy that interaction with others can bring. Thanks for reading & reviewing my book–and always sharing kindness. 🙂
This is a great post featuring Marian, Nonnie. I have read and enjoyed her memoir and think she would be really good at writing historical fiction. Marian, I also prefer WP and FB to Twitter and spend a lot more time on these two social medias. I think they suit my chatty personality better. All the best with your book promotion.
Robbie, thanks for joining the conversation here. However, you do that every week on my blog. You were one of the early ones to read and review my book too. I don’t know how you do it all, with a full-time job as well. Creating the cutest characters out of fondant might just be the way you relax. They certainly cheer me up! 🙂
HI Marian, the fondant artwork is a way of relaxing for me and so is writing. It is wonderful escapism. I really enjoy your weekly blog posts and found your memoir fascinating. I have always enjoyed learning more about people.
It’s great seeing Marian here, Nonnie. I’m reading her book now. 😊
I appreciate your support, Yvette, and enjoy seeing your smile on ZOOM calls. I’d like to know what you think of my book when you finish. Thanks again! 🙂
Hi Marian. I’m learning more about you on this tour. I got a 1 star review on my first book and that reader didn’t like anything about my book. I took it with a grain of salt and the knowledge that everyone is not going to like what you write. You have to have a thick skin for this business.
I am glad to see you on this tour. Have a good time.
Shirley, you are numero uno in the reply column. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable, which I notice in your writing and in the ZOOM calls we participate in. Huge thanks!
I loved your book, Marian, and look forward to the new one you and your husband are working on. I came to my Christian worldview in my mid-twenties, having grown up in a family with strict values but without church involvement. Your story reminded me that God has us each on a path He has determined for us, and that He loves each of us unconditionally. Thanks, Nonnie, for interviewing Marian!
Patty, we have several things in common, including the fact we are both Floridians–last I checked. Nonnie remarked on your huge smile in a recent ZOOM show and I think her noticing your radiance, is a good thing! Again, huge thanks for reading and reviewing my book.
Reblogged this on PTL Perrin Writes… and commented:
Marian Beaman’s beautifully written memoir touched my heart, moved me, and gave me a deep appreciation for her indomitable spirit. Enjoy getting to know her!
Huge thanks for the re-blog, Patty!
Hi, Marian. It is nice to see you featured today! I always enjoy Nonnie’s interviews. Nonnie, thank you for your twelve day series.
Karen, It’s good to see your smiling face today. Thanks for your support for my writing AND for this book.
Enjoy your stop, Marian!
Nonnie, your author promotion is second to none. I know of no other presidents of a writing group that is more personally involved with authors than you are. That takes time–and effort. You provided a host of interview questions and then carefully chimed in on each one. And you do that with ALL authors showcased.
To date, seven (7!) RRBC authors have reviewed my book, which blows my mind. Nonnie, thanks for sponsoring the 12-day series. I also appreciate your waiting a day to promote me and Mennonite Daughter. Eye treatments are always challenging, and yesterday was an ouch-y one.
As I mentioned earlier, receiving book reviews is wonderful on RRBC, but the friendships I have found here eclipse even that. HUGE thanks! 🙂